Topics: Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, Natural gas Pages: 13 (3448 words) Published: March 18, 2015





The entry of Shell D’Arcy Exploration Company into the search for oil across the entire Nigerian colony in 1937 marked a watershed in the history of oil and gas resources in the Niger Delta region. The Anglo-Saxon Petroleum, according to Steyn (2009)1, was renamed by that of the Shell Overseas Exploration Company in the official license in 1937. The exploration eventually resulted in a large commercial oil discovery. Shell Nigeria is the common name for Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigeria operations carried out through four subsidiaries- primarily Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC). 2 Shell has been active in Nigeria since 1937. Shell activities in Nigeria are exploring and producing oil and gas onshore as well as offshore and gas sales and distribution. Shell also has an interest in Nigeria’s largest liquefied natural gas plant (NLNG). Royal Dutch Shell’s joint ventures account for more than 21% of Nigeria’s total petroleum production (629,000 barrels per day (100,000 m3/d) (bpd) in 2009) from more than eight fields. The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) operates Nigeria’s largest oil and gas joint venture on behalf of: government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (55%), SPDC (30%), TEPGN (10%) and NAOC (5%). Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG) is the only international oil and gas company to set up a gas distribution company in Nigeria to supply industry customers.3 Shell started business in Nigeria in 1937 as Shell D’Arcy and was granted an exploration license. In 1956, Shell Nigeria discovered the first commercial oil field at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta and started oil exports in 1958. Prior to the discovery of oil, Nigeria like many other African countries strongly relied on agricultural exports to other countries to supply their economy.4 As oil was struck in commercial quantities in Nigeria, it also signaled the beginning of a profound transformation of Nigeria’s political and economic landscape. Since the 1970s, oil has accounted for 80% of the Nigerian government’s revenue and 95% of the country’s export earnings. As in many case in other countries, the discovery of oil has proved to be more of a curse than a blessing in the Nigerian communities. Instead of the discovery of oil enriching the country as it should be, its natural resources have enriched a small minority while the vast majority has become increasingly impoverished. The shell industry will rather say it has contributed to the economy through taxes and royalties but this has shown no effect as to the fact that with a per capita gross national product of only US$260m a year, Nigeria is one of the poorest countries in the world. Apart from the economic impact of shell in Nigeria, shell has brought about various environmental impacts in the country.5 Shell has laid claims to contributing and impacting the community by encouraging economic and social development while reducing any negative impact of their operations. The benefits they bring to the community can include jobs, capacity building, technology, contracting and business opportunities and social investment. Shell has claimed to have contributed to the livelihood of the communities around them since their operations may require the use of areas of land or sea temporarily or permanently. Of which these operations may require relocating and resettling communities and they claim to help such communities in restoring their standard of living and livelihoods. Due to their operations which can affect the health of local communities, for example, building facilities can create mosquito-breeding areas and increase exposure to malaria. Local air and water emissions could also pose a risk to public health or damage food stocks by affecting farming and fishing. Shell carry out environmental, social and health impact...

References: James, T. H (2000). The Politics of Bones, McClelland & Stewart.
Okonata, I. and Douglas O.(2003). Where Vultures Feast, Verso.
Ajibade, L.T and Awomutti A.A (2009) African Research Review: An International Multi-Disciplinary Journal
Adeyemi O.T
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